Local Area Attractions
Mesilla ("Little Tableland") is the best-known and most visited historical community in Southern New Mexico. Since its' beginning, around 1848, Mesilla has had a major influence on the economic, cultural, historical, and political life of the Mesilla Valley. From the Gadsden Purchase, to the Civil War, to the Butterfield Stage Coach Trail, to the trial of Billy the Kid, to being a lively social center in the 1880s--Mesilla has been a prominent part of the rich history of the Southwest.
White Sands National Monument
At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Visit White Sands National Monument online for more information.
White Sands Missile Range Museum and Missile Park
More than 50 items on display with a variety of missiles and rockets tested at White Sands including everything from the WAC Corporal and Loon to a Pershing II and Patriot. Open year-round, admission is FREE. Visit the White Sands Missile Range online for more information.
The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum
This $7.4 million museum celebrates the 3000 year agricultural story of New Mexico...from the first farmers in their rustic pithouses more than 1200 years ago to the modern day technology which is helping New Mexico be a leader in the dairy industry. Visit the Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum online for more information.
Dripping Springs Natural Area
Dripping Springs is an amazing wildlife viewing opportunity with 4 miles of easy hikes. The Center is open to the public from 8 a.m.-5p.m. daily except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The preserve is open from 8:00 A.M. to sunset year round. The day use fee is $3.00 per vehicle. As water finds its way to the surface year-round, Dripping Springs is a desert oasis where unique animal species thrive including Red-Tail Hawk, Gambel's Quail, Golden Eagle, Rock Squirrel, Black-Throated Sparrow, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Lesser Nighthawk, Desert Mule Deer and Coyote to name a few. Another good hike from the Visitor Center takes you up to the ruins of Major Eugene Van Patton's Camp, built originally in 1872, later to be a tuberculosis sanatorium in the early 1900s.
- New Mexico State University Golf Course - 3000 Herb Wimberly Dr., (575) 646-3219, www.nmsugolf.com
- Picacho Hills Country Club - 6861 Campestre in Picacho Hills, (575) 523-8641, www.picachohillscc.com
- Red Hawk Golf Course - 3601 Arroyo Rd., (575) 513-7628, www.golflascruces.com
- Sonoma Ranch Golf Course - 1274 Golf Club Rd., (575) 521-1818, www.sonomaranchgolf.com
Surrounding Area Courses
- Anthony Country Club - 2100 W Ohara Rd., Anthony, NM, (575) 882-2723
- Dos Lagos Golf Course - 1150 Duffer Ln., Anthony, NM, (575) 882-2830
- Santa Teresa Country Club - Country Club Road and McNutt Road, Santa Teresa, NM, (575) 589-3466
- White Sands Golf Course - located on White Sands Missile Range Military Base, (575) 678-8824, www.wsmrmwr.com/Golf
Visit the Oldest Wine Producing Region in the U.S. The first Spanish explorers and settlers, beginning in the early 1500's, brought their European wines grapes with them as they made the sunny, fertile Rio Grande valley their new home. These original grape stocks remain the source of many of New Mexico's vintners to this day. In the 1580s, Missionary priests were busily producing sacramental wines. By the 19th century, vineyards and wineries dotted the Rio Grande valley from Bernallilo south to the Mexican border. Census data in 1880 identified 3,150 New Mexico acres dedicated to producing 905,000 barrels of wines per year. During prohibition, legal wine production ceased. New Mexico wineries made a resurgence in the early 1980's. Currently, over 5,000 acres are under cultivation as the U.S. rediscovers the bounty of Rio Grande wine country.
The Museum of Natural History
The LCMNH Education Department's mission is to develop programs and educate the southern New Mexico community in various subject areas of natural history and science. Come and experience science and the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert up-close and hands-on at the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History. Our education staff is skilled and experienced in working with, and involving, people of all ages. Join us for a fun and educational museum experience.
Railroad and Transportation Museum
The Las Cruces Museum and Transit Group is developing the historic Las Cruces Depot into this new museum. Now open every Saturday. For further information, call The Branigan Cultural Center at 505-541-2155.
Bicentennial Log Cabin
Dates from the late 1870's, when it was built in the once flourishing mining town of Grafton, New Mexico, located in the Black Range Mountains, northwest of Las Cruces. When the silver and copper mines quit producing in the late 1800's, Grafton began its slide to ghost town status. The cabin was built of hand-hewn logs chinked with a mixture of clay, mud, ash and sawdust. The craftsman builder followed a German style pegged and notched construction method. He also showed a fondness for doors--the cabin has four, one on each wall. The doors offered multi-escape routes from both fire and marauders. Small windows cut into each of the doors let in cooling breezes, but also served as gun sites in times of danger. The cabin is open year round for individual and group tours. Visit the Bicentennial Log Cabin online for more information.
Museum of Archaeology and the Border Patrol Museum
Both located on Trans-Mountain Drive between Rt. 54 and I-10 visit the Museum of Archaeology, 915-755-4332, and the Border Patrol Museum, 915-756-6060.
The Nuclear Age was ushered in with the world's first atomic detonation at Trinity Site on July 16, 1945. Trinity Site is located on the northern end of White sands missile range. It is open to the public for ONE day twice a year, April, first Saturday of the month and October, first Saturday of the month.
Palomas is located 50 miles west on I-10 to Deming, south on Rt.11 to Columbus, and 3 more miles south to the border. There's free parking on the U.S. side. Park and walk over. This town, much smaller than Juarez, also offers shopping, dining and medical services.
City of Rocks State Park
About one hour from Las Cruces, takes its name from the incredible rock formations formed of volcanic ash 30 million years ago and sculpted by wind and water into rows of monolithic blocks. Cactus gardens and hiking trails add to this unique destination. The rock formations at the park are so unique that they are only known to exist in six other places in the world. Imaginative visitors may see the rock formations as a small city, complete with houses, chimneys, courtyards, and streets. Visit the City of Rocks State Park online for more information.
Shopping in Palomas, Mexico
Take a day and head a half hour south of Deming, New Mexico to Palomas, Mexico - the highlights are shopping, great Mexican food, and even dental or eye care.
Leasburg Dam State Park
Leasburg Dam State Park offers year-round camping, picnicking and bird watching. From about mid-March through mid-October, the park also offers fishing, canoeing and kayaking in the Rio Grande. The dam channels water from the Rio Grande for irrigation in the Mesilla Valley. Nearby Fort Selden State Monument has a museum and trails at the site of a 19th century army outpost.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
The largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park provides a setting for every imaginable water sport. The visitor center offers regional interpretive exhibits. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination.
Truth or Consequences
The town - not the game - is located about 70 miles north on I-25. Famous for both its name and spas, we recommend a few places for day spa sessions: Charles Motel & Spa, 505-894-7154; Fire Water Lodge Bed & Breakfast, 505-740-0315; La Paloma Hot Springs, 505-894-3148; and Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, 505-894-6976. Soak yourself!
Pancho Villa State Park
On March 9, 1916, the soldiers of General Francisco "Pancho" Villa attacked the small border town and military camp at Columbus, New Mexico. Pancho Villa State Park contains extensive historical exhibits which depict this raid, the first armed invasion of the continental United States since the War of 1812, and also the last one.
Wyler Aerial Tramway
About an hour's drive south of our campground, visit Wyler Aerial Tramway, Texas, which takes you to the top of Ranger Peak, elevation 5,632 ft, in the Franklin Mountains. Get a bird's-eye-view of New Mexico, Texas and Mexico all at once! For more information call 915-566-6622 or visit Wyler Aerial Tramway online.